Construction Employment Increases In 268 Of 358 Metro Areas From December 2021 To 2022 As Demand Outpaces Labor Supply In Some Markets
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas and Provo-Orem, Utah Have Largest 12-Month Gains, While Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Fla. Has Largest Job Loss; Richmond, Va. Has the Fastest Rate of Annual Decline
Construction employment increased in 268 of 358 metro areas between December 2021 and December 2022, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of new government employment data. Association officials said the industry faces some headwinds in 2023 that could undermine future growth in construction employment in many parts of the country.
“Labor is tight, materials prices are increasing, interest rates are rising, and some sectors of the economy are announcing layoffs,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “These threats could undermine future job growth in the construction sector, especially if expected federal funding for construction remains delayed by regulatory obstacles.”
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas added the most construction jobs (18,800 jobs or 9 percent), followed by Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, Nev. (10,900 jobs, 16 percent); Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Wash. (9,200 jobs, 9 percent); and Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas (9,100 jobs, 6 percent). The largest percentage gains were in Provo-Orem, Utah (22 percent, 6,000 jobs); Providence-Warwick, R.I. (20 percent, 5,000 jobs); Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise; Knoxville, Tenn. (16 percent, 3,100 jobs); and Anchorage, Alaska (12 percent, 1,100 jobs).
Construction jobs declined over the year in 47 metro areas and were unchanged in 43 areas. The largest loss occurred in Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Fla. (-7,500 jobs, -9 percent), followed by Richmond, Va. (-3,900 jobs, -10 percent); Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minn.-Wis. (-3,800 jobs, -5 percent); and Austin-Round Rock, Texas (-3,500 jobs, -5 percent).
Association officials said the job growth in most parts of the country was welcome, but cautioned that workforce shortages, rising costs for construction materials and private-sector uncertainty pose a challenge for the industry this year. They urged federal officials to address issues like confusion about new Buy America rules and registered apprenticeship requirements that are delaying progress on many public-sector projects.
“Federal funding for a range of construction projects should allow the industry to continue expanding in many parts of the country,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “But the Biden administration needs to resolve the confusion around some of the new rules it is attempting to impose that could delay progress on many of these projects.”